In the Bible, the Levites were included with the other Israelite tribes that left Egypt and journeyed in the desert with Moses to the Promised Land of Canaan. They descended from Levi, one of Jacob’s sons, who is mentioned in Genesis.
But they were destined to have no permanent tribal area once Israelites crossed the Jordan and entered Canaan, unlike the other tribes (Numbers 18:20-21; Deuteronomy 10:9; 18:1). Instead, they are classified as God’s “portion,” used for ritual work and sacral responsibilities across Israel’s tribal lands, particularly in the Tabernacle.
But why were the Levites chosen? Continue reading to learn more.
Why Were the Levites Chosen?
The Jewish nation’s priests, who would serve in the Tabernacle and the Temple and be the spiritual leaders, were initially supposed to be the firstborn sons. God “acquired” the Jewish firstborn children when He spared them from the Plague of the Firstborn in Egypt and assigned them to this unique position.
After receiving the Torah at Mount Sinai, the Jewish people created and worshipped a golden calf. The tribe of Levi was the only one that refrained from taking part in this despicable conduct. God, therefore, gave the Levites the firstborn’s former unique status.
What We Can Learn from the Tribe of the Levites?
Just before he passed away, the patriarch Jacob blessed each of his twelve sons. The twelve sons were to be the fathers to the twelve Israel tribes, and the blessings included prophecies regarding each tribe’s future.
Jacob foretold that he would scatter and disperse the tribe of Levi in Israel. This was brought on by their ferocious indignation and their vicious fury. The prophecy refers to the destiny of the Levites, but it also has important lessons for all of us.
The Levites were cursed because of their ruthless destruction of the Shechemites. Levi’s fury was terrible since it resulted in cruel actions.
Cruelty is never a part of righteous indignation and anger, like the type Jesus displayed when cleansing the Temple. Levi’s swords, intended primarily as defensive weapons, were used to harm others rather than defend themselves from harm or shield the defenseless.
It’s safe to say that Jacob’s prophecy that “I will scatter them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel” came true. The Levites were dispersed throughout Israel. But they eventually rose to become the priestly tribe and occupants of the cities of refuge by God’s mercy and by their devotion to Him (Exodus 32:26–29).
Levi’s priestly position was undoubtedly privileged, even though they never had their own assigned territory like the other tribes.
Christians might learn from the Levi tribe that many sins are brought on by uncontrolled anger. Anger leaves a destructive path behind it, frequently with outcomes beyond repair.
Jacob said, “Let me not enter their council; let me not join their assembly.” This statement also serves as a lesson for us. Because they are unpredictable and lack self-control, angry people are not individuals we should listen to when we need advice.
When anger is a distinguishing characteristic, it is a sign that a person lacks the gift of self-control that all believers have (Galatians 5:22–23). When the sin of anger is not confessed, and no effort is made to address it in a godly way, an angry person makes a bad counselor and should be avoided.
The restoration of the sinner to the privileged status as a child of God is the final lesson in the tribe of Levites for Christians.
We become a nation of priests in our own right via the high priestly sacrifice of Christ, who on the cross exchanged His righteousness for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). In 1 Peter2:9 we learn that we are a people who God has chosen, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people who belong to him, so that we may proclaim his praises for calling us out of darkness and into his marvelous light.
How Was God Himself the Inheritance of the Levites?
In the sense that they were selected to direct the worship of the whole nation of Israel, the Levites’ inheritance was God Himself. The Levites maintained the Tabernacle and all of its equipment and controlled the people’s sacrifices and offerings.
The Levite priests were provided for through their services. Deuteronomy 18:3–4 states that the internal organs, shoulder, and head belonged to the priest for an offering of a sheep or a bull. The verses continue to state that the Israelites were supposed to offer the priests the first fruits of their harvest, including olive oil and fresh wine, as well as the first fleece from your sheep’s shearing.
In Numbers 18, this teaching is explained in further detail. The chapter states that in exchange for their work while performing their duties at the tent of meeting, God granted the Levites all of the tithes in Israel as their inheritance.
They were not supposed to get an inheritance among the Israelites. Instead, God would transfer the tithes that the Israelites offered as an offering to the Lord to the Levites as their inheritance.
The Levites’ only inheritance was God. He served as the centerpiece of their work, the source of their support, and the purpose behind their vocation. The inheritance of the Levites did not include the land granted to the other tribes of Israel, but it did include towns, daily food, and a steady occupation.
What is the Difference Between Priests and the Levites?
The Levites were one of the twelve Israelite tribes that descended from Levi, one of Jacob’s twelve sons. On the other hand, the priests were a group of skilled men from the Levite tribe who were in charge of various aspects of Temple or tabernacle worship.
The Law required that all priests be Levites, but not all Levites were priests.
We hope this article has answered your question; why were the Levites chosen? The Levites were chosen since they were the only tribe at Mount Sinai that refrained from worshiping the golden calf.